South Africa, Pretoria – Rietgat police said stokvels withdraw their annual payouts at this time of the year and become targets.
The police station had numerous cases in the festive season last year.
Spokesperson Captain Stephen Maluleka said this time of year came with increased cases in which robbers followed stokvel members from the bank where they withdrew the money, with the intention to rob them.
“People must be careful with their money, whether they are at home or at stokvel meetings or the local shopping complex,” Maluleka.
The South African Banking Risk Information Centre gave a stern warning after a recent spate of armed robberies nationwide, where the money had been withdrawn for distribution.
The organisation’s chief executive Kalyani Pillay said: “It is distressing that bank clients who are the victims of stokvel robberies are often injured or even killed during these incidents, which is why we urge them to find safer ways to transact, such as internet transfers or mobile banking, instead of carrying large amounts of cash.”
According to incidents reported to the organisation, between 2014 and December 15, 2017, 53 stokvel robbery incidents were reported, with 77% of the incidents during the festive season.
Pillay urged bank clients to be vigilant and pay attention to their surroundings at this time. She said stokvels should refrain from making cash deposits of club members’ contributions on high-risk days.
“Ensure persons depositing club cash contributions or making withdrawals are accompanied by another club member,” she said.
The latest crime statistics – July 2020 to September painted a bleak picture.
While Gauteng saw a 10.1% drop in murder cases, Tshwane district was the only one that registered an increase in this category.
The Silverton police station was one of the top 40 police stations that recorded an increase of 136.4% in robberies with aggravating circumstances and a 37.9% increase in the trio crimes (carjackings, house robberies, and business robberies).
Brooklyn police station recorded 1 452 reports of serious crimes. Even though this was a 19.3% drop from last year, the police station had the third-highest reports of serious crimes in the province.
According to provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela, citizens continued to fall for money transfer, internet, and ATM scams. “Plans are being implemented to develop a specialised cybercrime competence and build capacity among our 11 investigators.”
Various security companies have issued warnings on crime trends residents should look out for.
Tshwane SAPS district commissioner Major-General Hilda Mohajane said there were many hijackings and urged: “I appeal to our motorists not to stop in secluded areas.”